Food is one of the greatest gifts Mother Earth gives to us (probably a very close second behind the oxygen we need to breath). It is amazing how you can place a tiny seed in the soil and weeks to months later a plant emerges with edible fruits or vegetables. Despite what the seed and… Read More
When the United States passed the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, it took a step from Upton Sinclair’s Jungle to the workplace that you and I enjoy today. It’s been generations since the labor standard was raised, and now discussions of fairness and the workplace center around rising CEO pay, raising the minimum wage for fast food workers, and… Read More
The surprise appearance of Monsanto’s unapproved GE wheat in an Oregon field last month dominated the “bad GE news” cycle of the day, stoking worries among farmers, millers, bakers and eaters about the extent of the contamination.
We’ve all heard the old adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but is there much truth to it? And will any apple do? Not really. According to Jo Robinson, author of the new book Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimal Health, the most common modern apple varieties are nutritionally inferior to their wild-growing ancestors.
Since the advent of agriculture some 10,000 years ago, she argues, humans have bred fruits and vegetables for mildness and sweetness, and we’ve lost thousands of healthful and more boldly flavored varieties in the process. We’ve sacrificed antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber for sugar and carbs.
Just when you thought the market for controversy over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was completely saturated, a new study published in the Journal of Organic Systems finds that pigs raised on a mixed diet of GM corn and GM soy had higher rates of intestinal problems, “including inflammation of the stomach and small intestine, stomach ulcers, a thinning of intestinal walls and an increase in haemorrhagic bowel disease, where a pig can rapidly ‘bleed-out’ from their bowel and die.”
Recently, I had the privilege of being invited to participate in the inaugural symposium of the new University of California Berkeley Food Institute (BFI). The BFI is an effort to bring together colleges within U.C. Berkeley to conduct interdisciplinary research to support the transformation of the food system into one built on diversity, justice, resilience, and health. This is an admirable effort and my initial interaction with the BFI and its organizers bolstered my confidence that the Institute may very well support the work of activists like myself.
As an east coast transplant to San Francisco, one of the things I immediately fell in love with in the Bay Area were the farmers’ markets. Here, unlike back east, they are abundant and, even better, year-round. Like many others, I love the local food economy that supports farmers’ markets, for knowing where my food comes as well as enjoying superlative freshness and flavor. But, in addition to these qualitative benefits, the region’s food economy provides distinct measurable benefits as well.
The 2013 Farm Bill hangs in the balance in Congress, awaiting a final vote, expected Monday. As Congress continues to struggle to get a new bill passed, farmers, small-scale producers, and advocates working to bring fresh food to the underserved are having to do what they’ve always had to do. Be creative.